Freedom and its Predecessor

My name is Freddy and I would like to share my story so you can better understand how I envision recovery. Maybe someone out there can relate to me. Who knows?

I was pain. That’s all I was. Everything else, every chance given to me, every promise I’d made, all of it was pain. What use is pain? What use is being just pain? It’s not dignified. It’s not kind. And if it’s not dignified and it’s not kind, then maybe it’s not worth anything. Maybe it’s better off as nothing. Gone. Dead. Ashes. Rising. Breath. Rebirth. Freedom.

I try everyday to find my own, valid definition of the word “Freedom.” This is my journey, and just because it had a rough start and then got worse before it got somewhat better, it doesn’t mean the negativity has to be a be-and-end-all. I don’t have to define my life with “heartbreak” or “trauma.” The DSM-V suggests that I have Major Depressive Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Bipolar II (“the sequel”). The DSM-II would have mentioned “Depathologizing Homosexuality” in my case study if I was born prior to 1973. There’s no need for me to label it and generalize it based on a few instances in my life that were quite less than pleasant.

I’m not going to apologize to my mother because I failed to reach her perfect, cookie-cutter expectations. I’m not going to apologize to my ex-fiance because I was the only one out of the two of us that was even capable of love! I’m not a failure! I’m not a coward! Society tends to chastise men for expressing emotions because, supposedly, it’s perceived as weakness. But I am not weak! It takes a lot of strength and resilience to talk about memories I’ve repressed for so long. To face these memories that yearn to break the ice of every conversation I shared with anyone, just to receive any kind of sympathy. I am so much stronger now than ever before! I once was the scared, little boy cowering in the corner, fearing for my life. No more! I gaze into the filthy mirror in my bathroom, and I embrace the man I have become!

I lived in a halfway house at one point in my life. Sleeping in the next room over were registered sex offenders, gangsters, and drug addicts. The whole ambience of that place made me feel anxious and hopeless. One day, I sat on the window sill of my assigned room on the second floor. I looked down and after some consideration, I jumped and I broke two bones in my lower vertebrae, an act I pay for with chronic pain every day of my life. I recalled, afterwards, thinking “shit! I should have jumped off from the third story or even from the rooftop. Why only the second floor?! What a fucking wimp!”

My injuries are a constant reminder that life may not be for the faint of heart, but it is worth it. The near-fatal injury led me to physical therapy which then inspired me to get into yoga. It’s been three years since I began doing yoga. It took some getting used to, but now, I can do splits, backbends, cartwheels, and I can press my whole palms on the ground from a standing position without bending my knees. The chronic pain is still there, but it’s not as severe.

The fact that my suicide attempt eventually lead to my aptitude in flexibility and an entryway into a whole subculture where I’ve met so many great people and accomplished so much – is quite extraordinary.

My mother kicked me out on my 18th birthday because my lifestyle went against her religious beliefs. Homelessness was the best present I ever received. For so long, I thought I was going to hell simply because that’s what she told me every night. She was afraid that some boys at school would bash me one day because of who I am. It’s ironic that she was the worst part of my childhood. She tried so hard to make sure my life was planned safely and accordingly. The Muslim faith insisted that my fate would be tied to a girl I grew up with. Her parents befriended my parents long before. My 18th year was meant to be the year I would marry her. But that arranged marriage never happened the second my mother found out I was gay. It’s sad how a friendship between two kids would end so catastrophically simply because of such high expectations being placed on it.

For a long time, I blamed myself for all the pain I caused. I thought hell was my only home. After several years, the pain has finally ceased. I choose to believe that the destination of my afterlife is still undecided. I can believe in anything I want.

When I was 21, I came so close to marrying a Narcissist. I avoided a lot of emotional and psychological abuse when I called off the engagement. For a time, I was in such a rush to give my heart away to someone who didn’t deserve it. He would say that everything that went wrong was my fault. His word was law. Apologizing was not in his repertoire. A sense of grandiosity would placate his identity until apathy took its pound of flesh. Empaths and Narcissists don’t mix well at all. The Empathic-Narcissistic relationship is a silver cord wrapped between two souls, the Empath rendered immobile and helpless as they try relentlessly to ease the Narcissist’s pain that is hidden so well. Energy is siphoned from the Empath into the Narcissist willingly, at first, until the Empath is used up completely, squeezed dry like a sponge, wanting nothing more than the sweet, gentle release of death by only the Narcissist’s hand. At least that’s what I desired, what I felt I deserved. I thought I knew everything. But the wisest people can admit that they know nothing. Now I relish in this uncertainty. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to leave him. I had to walk away from someone that I was still madly in love with.

I just wanted to die. I was in shock. It felt like he died. I wanted to join him, wherever he went, even if it was hell. If I had suddenly developed cancer during that time, I would have felt relieved. I grieved over him, even though all he did was break my heart and leave to find something else to do… someone else to do… his next victim. There were so many questions left unanswered, but maybe it was better off that way. Sometimes, I try to force myself to believe that he was just a figment of my imagination. But once in awhile, a family member of mine asks me about him. A part of me dies inside when I hear his name. It took me a little over two years to finally force myself to go back into the world of dating.

Today, I pay my own bills working at a job I don’t necessarily like, but appreciate. I go to college to pursue a career in Psychology. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to live my life. I’m doing just fine. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Yes, my life is a lot better than ever before, but there are still days when panic attacks and anxiety ensue. I enjoy the independence. Just me and my cat. Yes, sometimes, it gets lonely. Yet I refuse to sell myself short for someone who doesn’t deserve me. I’m not ever going to alter my morals and my beliefs just to be accepted. I will never pretend to be someone I’m not simply because I’m deemed socially deviant. I will be the loneliest man in the world if it meant that I can just be myself.

I was pain. That’s all I was. But now, I accept that it all happened in the past. The past happened. It happened! Why feel any regret or guilt on things I can’t change? Why should I let myself suffer when the source of the pain subsided long ago? I am safe. I am wise. I am loved.

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